Richard H. Solomon

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Richard H. Solomon in 2012

Richard Harvey Solomon (June 19, 1937 – March 13, 2017)[1] was United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1989 to 1992, after which he was Ambassador to the Philippines. In September 1993, he became president of the United States Institute of Peace, a position he held until September 2012. He subsequently joined the RAND Corporation as a Senior Fellow.


Richard H. Solomon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1937. He was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1960, and a PhD in political science with a specialization in Chinese politics in 1966.[2]

In 1966, Solomon became a professor of political science at the University of Michigan. He left in 1971 to become a staff member of the United States National Security Council (NSC), responsible for Asian Affairs. In this position, he worked with NSC Adviser Henry Kissinger on the normalization of relations with China.

In 1976, he joined the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California as head of the political science department, a position he held until 1986. Solomon then joined the United States Department of State in 1986 as Director of Policy Planning.

On March 24, 1989, President of the United States George H. W. Bush nominated Solomon as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and he subsequently held this office from June 23, 1989 until July 10, 1992. As Assistant Secretary, Solomon helped to negotiate the 1991 Paris Agreement, by which the Vietnam-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea agreed to turn over control of Cambodia to the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, an international peacekeeping force (with Cambodia gaining independence in 1995). Solomon also facilitated nuclear proliferation discussions between North Korea and South Korea. He played a role in the formation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation initiative. He also participated in bilateral negotiations with Vietnam, Mongolia, and Japan.

President Bush then nominated Solomon as United States Ambassador to the Philippines, and Solomon held this post from September 4, 1992 until March 1, 1993.

Solomon left government service in 1993, becoming president of the United States Institute of Peace a position he held until September 2012. In October of that year he returned to the RAND Corporation as a senior fellow.

Solomon has published eight books, including "Mao's Revolution and the Chinese Political Culture" (1971, 1999), "A Revolution is Not a Dinner Party" (1975), "The China Factor" (1981), "Chinese Negotiating Behavior" (1985 and 2000), "Exiting Indochina" (2000), "American Negotiating Behavior" (2007), and "Peace Building" (2012). He currently serves as a member of Partnership for a Secure America's bipartisan advisory board. The Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the bipartisan center in American foreign policy and national security.

Solomon died on March 13, 2017, at his home in Bethesda, Maryland from brain cancer.


  1. ^ Library of Congress Name Authority File: Solomon, Richard H., 1937–
  2. ^ 'Richard Solomon, Kissinger aide involved in "Ping Pong diplomacy" with China, dies at 79,' The Wall Street Journal, Adam Bernstein, March 14, 2017

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Government offices
Preceded by
Gaston J. Sigur, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
June 23, 1989 – July 10, 1992
Succeeded by
William Clark, Jr.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Frank G. Wisner
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
September 4, 1992 – March 1, 1993
Succeeded by
John Negroponte